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Fredonia talent, jazz classics featured in opening pops series concert
Friday, August 14, 2015

Fredonia talent, jazz classics featured in opening pops series concert

Paul Ferguson, the artistic director and conductor of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra.

Fredonia’s own talent will share the spotlight with one of the nation’s leading jazz orchestras for the opening event of the 2015-16 DFT Communications Pops Series.

Rockefeller Arts Center presents “An Evening of Ella and Ellington with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra” on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

Nia Drummond, a senior vocal performance major who starred in the 2012 “Big Band Christmas Spectacular,” will be the featured vocalist for the Ella Fitzgerald numbers. Ms. Drummond recently performed the national anthem at the Sept. 11 memorial service in New York City.

Sharing the spotlight will be The Fredonia Voices, an eight-member vocal jazz group that made its professional debut last year with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The group will perform six Duke Ellington tunes.

Also featured will be Bruce Johnstone, director of Jazz Studies at Fredonia, on baritone saxophone. Mr. Johnstone, who has served as musical director for several commencement eve pops productions, has recorded with the big bands of both Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman and performed on stages around the world.

The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra is developing a national reputation and this will be the orchestra’s first concert of the season under new artistic director Paul Ferguson.

A graduate of the University of Akron and the Eastman School of Music, Mr. Ferguson has traveled with the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller bands as lead trombonist.

In 1995, he was the recipient of the Gil Evans Fellowship in Jazz Composition. Mr. Ferguson has two recordings “Blue Highways,” recorded with the RIAS Big Band of Berlin, and “Friends,” recorded with his own orchestra.

Last summer, he taught at an International Jazz Seminar in Zarautz, Spain, wrote three arrangements for the Glenn Miller Orchestra and wrote three arrangements for the Cleveland Pops for use on the Drew Carey show.

The Sept. 26 pops concert will feature Ferguson’s arrangements of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald classics including “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good.”

The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra promotes jazz in its historical and contemporary forms through concerts with gifted jazz musicians, arrangers, composers and educators in northeast Ohio and beyond. The orchestra strives for worldwide recognition in cooperation with guest artists, and looks to shepherd young musicians toward the future of jazz.

Tickets for this reserved seat event are available through the Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center (673-3501 or fredonia.edu/tickets).

The concert is sponsored by WDOE and 96 KIX Country, DFT Communications and Lake Shore Savings Bank.

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